Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle – Review
Follow Genre: horror survival game
Developer: Invader Studios
Publisher: Leonardo Interactive, 4Divinity
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PC

Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle – Review

Site Score
Good: Great creepy atmosphere, Graphics really improved
Bad: Gun controls aren't great
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

We reviewed the original Daymare: 1998 back in 2020 and found it to be a passable Resident Evil clone that could use some work. Today we’re looking at Invader Studios’ newest game, called Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle. As the title might have you guess, this is a prequel to the other Daymare game. And while in some areas the game improved on the formula, we can’t quite call it a masterpiece. It’s time to cover up a government conspiracy!


Set four years before the events of Daymare: 1998, this game introduces us to a whole new set of characters and the events that lead to disaster in the original Daymare. Our protagonist is Dalila Reyes, a former government spy who now works for the H.A.D.E.S. unit. This special unit works on extraction missions. Their latest task sends them deep into a government research facility known as Area 51 (yes, that Area 51) to retrieve a briefcase after the facility lost contact with the outside world. As you might expect, something went bump in the night at this place and Reyes finds herself locked in a nightmare that covers up some sort of big conspiracy. A conspiracy that could certainly end her life.

The plot is conveyed mostly through the cutscenes between segments of the pretty linear gameplay, though there are areas where you can explore too. There are also info logs and other documents for the observant player, and these give you more backstory about the facility, the disaster that happened there, and even some foreshadowing for the events and characters of the first game.


Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle saw an improvement in its graphical quality compared to its predecessor. The game looks and runs quite smoothly, and the character models have certainly gotten an upgrade. The cutscenes are especially nice and add a lot to the story. The research facility looks great with an appropriate creepy atmosphere. The enemy designs, while also not bad at a glance, are not very diverse. In essence, you’re fighting the same three enemies the entire game, with no boss fights or other unique attributes in sight until the very end of the game. This does feel like a missed opportunity.


We’ll start with the most important thing here: the voice delivery definitely isn’t as stilted as in the first game. Some lines still sound a little awkward, though that could have more to do with the game’s writing than the voice actors. The soundtrack is fun and shows the game’s retro inspiration more than the graphics do. You’ll find a lot of tense tracks that fit Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle’s atmosphere perfectly. One enemy later in the game teleports and uses sound as a cue on where it will appear. This mechanic works as intended and was a nice change of pace.


Overall, Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle plays an awful lot like the modern Resident Evil games it was very obviously inspired by. It calls itself a survival horror, though we’d say it’s closer to a third-person action game with some creepy elements here and there. Playing as Agent Reyes, you make your way through the research facility in a pretty linear fashion – with objectives that follow the story. On the way, you encounter enemies and solve puzzles.

The puzzles are easier than those from the first Daymare game and are mostly environmental in nature. They often involve finding a key or code, or moving stuff around to clear your way through certain rooms. However, there are also plenty of ‘minigames’ such as when you’re hacking. Reyes has a scanner that you can use to inspect objects. This gives you additional lore but also hints on how to solve puzzles sometimes.

Another main factor of the game is the combat. Reyes has a few different guns to use on the undead spawns that roam the facility, though these enemies are powered by strange blue power orbs. With a special freeze ray, she can take those orbs out first or they’ll keep spawning in new enemies. The freeze mechanic can also be used on the enemies themselves, as they move incredibly fast. The guns can all be upgraded in various ways throughout the game. Sadly, the combat is also where this title falls apart. There is no melee combat nor dodging, and freezing an enemy takes a while. Often, you are killed before you can properly react. Additionally, just like in the first game, not all the guns are controlled very smoothly and ammo can be hard to come by. This does tend to turn combat into an annoyance more often than it should. To negate this, the game has a lot of different difficulty settings. Picking one of the easier settings will save you a lot of frustration.


If you’re looking for a fun game that calls back to retro titles, Daymare: 1994 Sandcastle might do the trick for you. The plot is wacky, the creepy atmosphere works more often than not, and the gameplay can be very entertaining if you get past the finicky controls. Just don’t expect too much, as this title won’t blow anybody away.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

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